Nearly three tumultuous years into Donald Trump's troubled presidency, America has become a bitterly divided and angry nation.
The Democratic-controlled House is on the brink of passing articles of impeachment, accusing the president of asking the leader of an Eastern European country to conduct an investigation into his likely Democratic opponent in the 2020 presidential election.
Trump has repeatedly condemned the accusations as a hoax and a witch hunt, but the details of his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, asking him to “do us a favor,” have been laid out in detail by a panel of witnesses in sworn, public testimony before Congress.
If this story sounds like deja vu all over again, that's because of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election that saturated Americans' internet and social media with fraudulent stories crafted to help elect Trump.
Trump stubbornly insists that story was also a hoax, and maintains Russia played no role in his election. But U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed that Moscow was behind that cyber invasion scheme every step of the way.
U.S. intelligence has long warned the White House that Trump's irresponsible use of his cellphone for sensitive overseas calls compromises our security.
Trump “has routinely communicated with his personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, and other individuals, speaking on cellphones vulnerable to monitoring by Russian and other foreign intelligence services,” The Washington Post reported last week.
“Phone records released this week by the House Intelligence Committee revealed extensive communications between Giuliani, unidentified people at the White House and others involved in the campaign to pressure Ukraine, with no indication that those calls were encrypted or otherwise shielded from foreign surveillance,” the Post said.
Giuliani has been meeting with a range of Ukrainians “who have been feeding him unproven allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden and helping construct a counternarrative that is taking hold in the Republican Party,” the Post also reported.
Clearly, Giuliani is seeking some information to help Trump counter the charges contained in the articles of impeachment. But at this stage of the president's troubles, that material has not surfaced.
What is firmly at the center of Trump's impeachment scandal is his request that the president of Ukraine dig up dirt about Biden to help him defeat his strongest rival in 2020.
American presidential campaigns can get rough and nasty at times, but having another country influencing the outcome of our free and fair elections is beyond the pale.
That's what Donald Trump tried to get away with, but got caught in the act. Since the House is controlled by the Democrats, he will more than likely be impeached.
But Republicans, who rule the Senate, will no doubt save his bacon when his case goes to trial in the upper chamber. No one in the Senate Democratic caucus is predicting that Trump will be convicted.
Even so, Trump will still have to face the voters in the general election as an impeached incumbent, and more than likely overcome increased opposition in the caucuses and primaries to come.
This is the fourth time in our country's history that the House has produced articles of impeachment against a president, but it hasn't slowed down Trump or his agenda.
His pro-growth tax cuts have energized the U.S. economy, boosting job creation throughout much of the country. He has achieved a modified trade agreement with Mexico and Canada to improve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). And unemployment is at record lows.
“The compromise all but guarantees that President Trump will achieve one of his top [economic] priorities,” the Washington Post reported on its front page Wednesday.
Nevertheless, the House's impeachment looms large over his presidency, accusing him of abusing his power and “obstruction of Congress,” among other misdeeds.
That's a heavy burden for any president, particularly someone whose job approval polls can't climb out of the 40-something-percent range.